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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Deadly listeria outbreak in 7 states tied to peaches, plums and nectarines

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a food safety alert Monday regarding a deadly multi-state listeria outbreak.

As of Nov. 17, 11 people from seven states were infected with the outbreak strain of listeria. The CDC said one person in California died, and another got sick during pregnancy, forcing a preterm labor.

At least 10 people were so sick they required hospitalization, but the CDC notes that the true case count is likely much higher since many people recover without being tested for listeria.

Three people in both California and Florida got sick, and one person in each state of Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan and Ohio also got sick.

Samples confirming the listeria strain in the 11 patients were collected between Aug. 22, 2018 and Aug. 16, 2023. Confirmed cases ranged from 30 to 80 years of age, with nearly 75% over the age of 65.

Investigators interviewed people who got sick and traced the source of the listeria outbreak to non-organic whole peaches, nectarines, and plums distributed by HMC Farms.

HMC Farms recalled peaches nectarines and plums sold in two pound bags nationwide between 2022 and 2023 between May 1 and Nov. 15 in 2022 and 2023. You’ll know if you have the recalled fruit because it will have a sticker with “USA-E-U” and the number:

  • Yellow peach: 4044 or 4038
  • White peach: 4401
  • Yellow nectarine: 4036 or 4378
  • White nectarine: 3035
  • Red plum: 4042
  • Black plum: 4040

The CDC says recalled fruit should no longer be in stores but may still be in people’s homes. The CDC is advising people to check their kitchen, including their refrigerator and freezer, for recalled fruit. People should not eat them and should throw them away.

According to the CDC, investigators are working to identify any other fruit products that may be contaminated.

The CDC is advising customers to throw away or return any recalled fruit to the store, then make sure to carefully clean any surfaces that the fruit may have touched.

Listeria can be especially dangerous, even deadly, in people who are pregnant, 65 and older and have a weakened immune system. Especially in those patients, the bacteria can spread beyond the gut to other parts of the body causing a severe condition known as invasive listeriosis.

Symptoms, which usually start within 2 weeks of consuming contaminated food, can include fever, muscle aches, tiredness, headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and seizures.

If you think you are sick with listeria, contact you healthcare provider.

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